20 Pedestrians Are Killed Every Day in the United States

20 Pedestrians Are Killed Every Day in the United StatesA new study by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) spotlights pedestrian fatalities in 2022 – and the news is not good. In fact, the rate of pedestrian deaths here in the United States is at its highest rate in more than 40 years.

NPR reports, “The organization, which tracks pedestrian deaths in the U.S., estimates that more than 7,500 pedestrians were killed by drivers last year — the highest number since 1981. The final tally may be even greater given that Oklahoma was unable to provide data due to a technical issue.”

This data translates to 20 pedestrian deaths each day. NPR notes that pedestrian deaths and injuries began climbing during the pandemic when there were fewer vehicles on the roads and speeding and reckless driving began to rise. However, they note, “The pandemic has waned, but cases of reckless driving — and subsequently the number of Americans killed while walking — has not. The new data, released on Friday, shows the U.S. continues to lag in its effort to improve road safety, even as experts say some solutions are within reach.”

How Maryland compares when it comes to keeping pedestrians alive and safe

Here in Maryland, 2021 saw 128 pedestrian deaths. The preliminary data for 2022 is 129 fatalities, up one from the previous year. In 2021, there were also 2,185 pedestrian accidents with injuries. Adding in another 238 crashes involving property damage, that’s a grand total of 2,548 pedestrian crashes with 2,514 injuries in 2021.

Zero Deaths Maryland also reports:

Metropolitan areas have the highest concentration of pedestrian-involved crashes. Between 2017 and 2021, 92% of pedestrian-involved crashes occurred in the Baltimore and Washington metropolitan areas. Although most pedestrian-involved crashes took place in Baltimore City (31%), Prince George’s County accounted for the greatest number of crashes resulting in a fatality (24%).

Pedestrian accidents tend to be so deadly because of the speed at which a vehicle strikes the victim. Pedestrians are extremely vulnerable on the road, and the faster a vehicle is traveling when it hits them, the greater the damage it will do. In fact, Zero Deaths Maryland points out that:

At 20 mph, the likelihood of severe injury or fatality is 10%. At 40 mph, the likelihood of severe injury or fatality rises to 80%—meaning a pedestrian struck by a motorist at 40 mph is EIGHT times more likely to die than a pedestrian struck at 20 mph. It’s something to remember the next time you’re driving through a residential area and thinking that going a few mph over the speed limit won’t make a difference.

How can we reduce pedestrian deaths in Maryland?

Per NPR:

Traffic safety has been an uphill battle in the U.S. for years but there are strategies at lawmakers’ disposal to address the crisis today, according to Peter Norton, a professor at the University of Virginia who has studied the history of driving in America.

“The best things we can do will take years, but there are some things we can do now, they don’t cost much money and they make a big difference,” he said.

Some of these improvements include:

  • Implementing sharp corners instead of curves at the ends of roads to encourage drivers to slow down to turn
  • Adding pedestrian islands and sidewalk bulb-outs, which encourage motorists to drive more slowly at intersections
  • Installing speeding and right light cameras
  • Adding bike lanes
  • Lowering speed limits
  • Stationing police officers to look out for reckless driving
  • Giving out “walk audits” to locals to identify safety concerns

The GHSA also states regarding pedestrian accidents:

To combat this pedestrian safety crisis, GHSA supports a comprehensive solution based on the Safe System approach outlined in the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Roadway Safety Strategy (NRSS). Each of the five elements of this approach – safe road users, safe vehicles, safe speeds, safe roads and post-crash care – contribute in different but overlapping ways to provide a multi-layered safety net that can protect people on foot as well as other road users.

Can your Maryland pedestrian accident attorneys help me?

Yes, we can. The Maryland pedestrian accident attorneys at Plaxen Adler Muncy, P.A. can provide valuable assistance if you have been involved in a pedestrian accident and need legal representation. We review your medical records (including any treatments and medications prescribed for your injuries) as well as your employment records; this helps us understand the true extent of your losses.

We also work with outside field experts, such as law enforcement and accident reconstructionists, to determine just how the incident occurred. We look at black box and cell phone data, surveillance footage, and pictures from the scene. Are there tire tracks present? Was there damage to the vehicle – if so, where was that damage physically? Are there witnesses? What did they see (or record on their phones), and does it match what the driver says?

This is the information we use to determine liability, or fault. For example, if a pedestrian was in a crosswalk when he or she was hit by a vehicle, we can use traffic cams and cell phone footage to see if a driver blew through a red light or turned without looking at the crosswalk. But we can also see if there was an obstruction in the sightlines for you or for the driver, which means another third party may be liable. If, for example, a delivery truck was double-parked and made it impossible for you or the driver to see around the corner, then that trucking company may share liability.

Once we have a clear view of what happened and why, then we can begin negotiations with the insurance company. Our injury lawyers prepare every case as though it will eventually go to trial, and insurance companies know it. This gives us added leverage during these negotiations. Often, they come to the table with a much more just initial offer. If they refuse to play ball, then we take your case to a jury.

At Plaxen Adler Muncy, P.A, we help injured pedestrians. We understand the challenges involved in a pedestrian accident claim and we want to help you recover compensation for your injuries, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Complete our contact form or call us at your earliest convenience to schedule your free consultation at one of our multiple office locations across the state.